It probably was cotton, after all.

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wausaubob

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The Historical Atlas of the Civil War, John MacDonald, Chartwell Books, Inc, New York 2009. There is a little map on page 21 that illustrates the distribution of the vote on secession. In western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, northern Alabama, and the Red River area of Texas, areas in which cotton was not dominant, the popular support for secession was weak. This is consistent with there being substantial resistance to secession in Kentucky and Missouri, that only needed some support from loyalist forces to hold the state in the United States. The agricultural map on p. 47 confirms the hypothesis. The corn, wheat and even tobacco areas of the south were selling to a domestic market. They wanted to remain connected to the US. The sugar growers wanted slavery, but they also were selling to the US market.
It was the last several years of the cotton boom, especially after the end of the Crimean War, and the intense development of the world market for English textiles, that created the money and the incentive to separate the cotton belt from the US.
With the moderators permission, I could expand the idea, but I am not into arguing.
 

lurid

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It was totally the huge cotton demand that doubled every ten years from 1800-1860. In 1800, 75,000 bales of cotton were produced, by 1860 there were 3.8 million bales of cotton produced, a 5,000 increase in 60 years.
 
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wausaubob

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p. 27 illustrates that slavery in the developing states, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, depended on a vigorous slave trade from the older and more established states.
 

OpnCoronet

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It was totally the huge cotton demand that doubled every ten years from 1800-1860. In 1800, 75,000 bales of cotton were produced, by 1860 there were 3.8 million bales of cotton produced, a 5,000 increase in 60 years.

But the recurring political crises in Congress of the Ante-Bellum Years, and later, secession, was not over why there were slaves.
 

lurid

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But the recurring political crises in Congress of the Ante-Bellum Years, and later, secession, was not over why there were slaves.
Who said anything about slaves? I'm talking about the demand and production curves, not the labor curve or the reasoning behind it. Come again..
 
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alan polk

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The Historical Atlas of the Civil War, John MacDonald, Chartwell Books, Inc, New York 2009. There is a little map on page 21 that illustrates the distribution of the vote on secession. In western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, northern Alabama, and the Red River area of Texas, areas in which cotton was not dominant, the popular support for secession was weak. This is consistent with there being substantial resistance to secession in Kentucky and Missouri, that only needed some support from loyalist forces to hold the state in the United States. The agricultural map on p. 47 confirms the hypothesis. The corn, wheat and even tobacco areas of the south were selling to a domestic market. They wanted to remain connected to the US. The sugar growers wanted slavery, but they also were selling to the US market.
It was the last several years of the cotton boom, especially after the end of the Crimean War, and the intense development of the world market for English textiles, that created the money and the incentive to separate the cotton belt from the US.
With the moderators permission, I could expand the idea, but I am not into arguing.
Thank you for the thread, and I tend to agree with its hypothesis.

Just for clarification, though, am I right in assuming the intention is to show that because cotton was sold on the world market instead of domestically, this is what drove secession?

If this is correct, and I think it is reasonable to think it is, how do we suss out things with places like Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi in this model? Both of those were heavily involved, or at least I assume they were involved, with cotton. Nevertheless, they voted against secession.

Again, I think it will help if we at least compare and contrast these places in order to better understand the point being stressed in the work you cite.
 

byron ed

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Who said anything about slaves? I'm talking about the demand and production curves, not the labor curve or the reasoning behind it. Come again...
When you bring up cotton in context of the U.S. antebellum it's literally the same thing as bringing up slavery. To try and assess the Antebellum cotton business you just can't arbitrarily separate demand and production curves from the labor curve. Of course "labor curve" is merely a euphemism for slavery in this instance, and the reasoning behind it was free labor.
 
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wausaubob

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The problem was that in the developing states, the demand for slave labor was high. Death rates, due to cholera, and other diseases were high in Louisiana and Arkansas, and Texas had abundant land. Slave trading had already been eliminated in DC. The British were approaching the elimination of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, so that made illegal smuggling of slaves very risky.
Concerning the book, its cartographically attractive, though the text could have benefited from some additional proof reading.
 

trice

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Thank you for the thread, and I tend to agree with its hypothesis.

Just for clarification, though, am I right in assuming the intention is to show that because cotton was sold on the world market instead of domestically, this is what drove secession?

If this is correct, and I think it is reasonable to think it is, how do we suss out things with places like Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi in this model? Both of those were heavily involved, or at least I assume they were involved, with cotton. Nevertheless, they voted against secession.

Again, I think it will help if we at least compare and contrast these places in order to better understand the point being stressed in the work you cite.
Generally speaking, the planters sold their cotton at major ports/cities in "the South" to Northerners or foreigners who then shipped it to "the North" (particularly New England) or Europe. Much of that would have been sold to factors/middlemen who then sold it to the manufacturers at the other end.

Going from memory, a bit over 50% went to Britain and a bit over 40% went to "the North". The rest of the world got the rest of the American cotton crop (I think France might be in third place).
 

wausaubob

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People who were into cotton, or were slave labor brokers, who had a large number of slaves, had an interest worth protecting. But a person who had some domestic servants, and a gardener, maybe not so much.
If they formulated their nation on cotton, that left out the non cotton areas. A lot of poor men figured out pretty quick that they did not want to fight for someone else's slaves. Though usually its quoted in more prosaic terms.
Therefore Lincoln had two strategies available from the start: peal off those areas with little cotton and few slaves, and attempt to break into the areas with 70-80 slave population, on the coast of SC, and along the Mississippi.
 
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wausaubob

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Both Missouri and Kentucky had suffered in the 1857 midwest downturn, and New Orleans had not suffered at that time.
That was mostly likely a factor in secession not being very appealing to Douglas Dem and Bell voters.
 

Horrido67

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Therefore Lincoln had two strategies available from the start: peal off those areas with little cotton and few slaves, and attempt to break into the areas with 70-80 slave population, on the coast of SC, and along the Mississippi.
Mr. Wausaubob. Do you know any incident where the US government tried to incite a slave rebellion in the Confederacy to distract their main armies in VA and in the West? Why didn't African slaves themselves immediately join the Union's effort to destroy the Confederacy? I believe overseers and slave-patrols were forced to join the war effort and left a lot of room for slaves to rebel against the Confederacy. Or is it reasonable to assume that the Federal government would have suppressed both slavers' rebellion as well as slaves' rebellion since slavery was not abolished during the war? Many thanks.
 
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The book source cited is clearly an excellent resource and thanks for the presentation. It has been known that the regions of the South that lacked cotton production (forest, hills, mountains, etc.) produce most of the Southern Unionists. Therefore, it is not any radically new notion to say cotton production areas produced most of the more militant slaveholder successionists who would provide the leadership for the armed insurrection. I do like the concept of the book and its usefulness to locate for the general readers those areas related to the above. However, there are many variables and the issues are complex. It was only the slaveholder elites of the Deep South, who deluded themselves that their King Cotton would suffice to create a Slave Republic Empire/Nation, while after their Creation they would rest, while the World continues spinning harmlessly around their repose. I known of several delusions that lead them down this destructive path. One was that King Cotton in an economic capitalist system would forever be the most profitable commodity, thus keeping the most powerful Planters the richest group on Earth. Second that Europe would bow before King Cotton Nation and recognize its independence. Thirdly, that God chose the white southern slaveholders to dominate civilization using the ancient form of slave labor. Finally, the no other nation in the World could create a King Cotton Nation competition against these Southern elites (India and others proved this an error). All delusions that made these Elites make a complete fool of themselves.
 
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wausaubob

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I don't know very little about whether slaves revolted during the Civil War.
The topic in this post is that cotton created the wealth that fueled secession and created the interest in continuing the interstate slave trade.
But cotton had the inherent problem that the areas in the deep south with the most fertile soils, and the lowest transportation costs, were already causing a contraction in the cotton industry. Competition from the large operations had already forced many white farmers out of the cotton business, and if they were going to grow corn and raise hogs, they could do that in no. Missouri, in Iowa or Ohio, without competition from cotton growers and slaves.
 

wausaubob

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This is consistent with secession not being supported in the border states, not being supported in the mountains and hills west of the mountains, and not being supported in the southern frontier in Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. In cattle country around San Antonio, slavery was not much of an advantage, and secession was not that popular.
 

byron ed

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...Why didn't African slaves themselves immediately join the Union's effort to destroy the Confederacy?
They did, though more at the first real opportunity they had to cross past invading Union lines. Most couldn't do much until that happened -- except surreptitiously, with work slowdowns, breaking implements, feigning ignorance, assisting Unions caught behind Confederate lines, spy reports, leaving on the Underground Railroad themselves or assisting fellow slaves to do so.

I believe overseers and slave-patrols were forced to join the war effort and left a lot of room for slaves to rebel against the Confederacy.
You'd think so, but apparently even in the toughest times at the front, slave patrols were maintained in earnest. The planter class wasn't stupid and totally understood what was at risk. They did not slack on slave patrols. It was not nearly necessary to have the youngest wiry soldier-quality men for slave patrols. Any middle-aged "has-been" or slack-jawed miscreant served well enough for slave patrols. They had horses, guns and dogs and the slaves didn't.

... it reasonable to assume that the Federal government would have suppressed both slavers' rebellion as well as slaves' rebellion since slavery was not abolished during the war?...
Yes following Federal law the Union armies did suppress rebellions, and they did return escaping slaves to their legal owners. There are accounts of both such activities. But as the war drudged on it became increasingly obvious to field commanders and eventually to Washington and the President that the tide could not be turned; that slavery was finished no matter who won the war because all the avenues of escape remained and would only expand beyond the war's end -- trains, canals, steamboats, wagons west.

What drove the tide was the will and activism of the servant population itself, which for years historians thought to be complacent (since some servants clearly were by accounts). McPherson was among the first to research and document the truer extent of servant activism with his 1965 book "The Negro's Civil War." Several authors since then have uncovered the true impact of this "third front" of the Civil War, the view now prevailing despite Lost Cause distractions that wasn't the case (it's a bit embarrassing for Confederate apologists to admit that their defeat wasn't entirely military).
 
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OpnCoronet

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Who said anything about slaves? I'm talking about the demand and production curves, not the labor curve or the reasoning behind it. Come again..



I was referring to the relationship of the book to the title of this particular thread "It probably was cotton, after all. and my assumption that 'it' referred to the Ciivil War. that assumption is corrrect, then I was merely noting that the crises that fomented and led to secession and war was not 'cotton' but(as noted by huskerblitz) much more about how it was produced
 

wausaubob

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Neither cotton nor slavery formed a broad enough base for the coalition. The coalition seemed to form about the threat to the traditional rural, agricultural lifestyle, with low population density and a few wealthy planters holding power.
I think the Confederates were must successful in constructing that threat. Because times were certainly changing with the creation of a continental empire and the technical means to govern it, that threat of change created a rallying point that had impact.
 
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